New state data tool shows growth over next decade

From staff reports

Carroll College’s Math in the Mountains class and members of the Montana Department of Commerce’s Research and Information Services Bureau.

Montana Department of Commerce

The state Department of Commerce and Carroll College have completed a new data model to help plan for future community development and land use.

The tool, at, is the result of a semester-long collaboration between Carroll’s “Math in the Mountains” students and Commerce’s Research and Information Services Bureau. Work began on the new data model in September.

Montana had one of the highest housing vacancy rates in the nation in 2020, although the vacancy rates in Montana’s larger cities were much lower.

U.S. Census Bureau

The data model predicts population at the county level for the next 20 years, not only the standard variables of births, deaths and migration but also available housing and personal income into the mix. When tested against prior years, the model had an average error of only 504 residents

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